If it seems like I haven’t been posting as much lately, it’s true and here’s why…I’ve been working on finishing Bone Sliver. I’ve got about five or six chapters to go before the first installment of The Nova Chronicles is ready to go to beta readers. Beta readers are very important in an indie author’s work. They provide the first voices of input to help get the author where they need to go in the story. The better the betas, the better the book at the end.
Beta readers have to be willing to give constructive criticism. That is criticism which helps the author grow and makes the writing better. By telling them what works and what doesn’t in the work that is read, mistakes are eliminated and the writing is improved. Sadly beta readers can be very difficult to come by. Sure, everyone wants to read your new book, but they also have busy lives of their own. Life happens, and lots of times it is hard to get the sort of direct specific advice the author needs in time to do any good for the first book. Sometimes ever.
This is why time distance is so very important for a writer. I’m not saying this is wisdom gleaned from working my way up to best-seller status (which by the way I haven’t…yet…) but it seems like good advice to me. You HAVE to put it away for a while, AFTER your first draft is COMPLETE. Then do something to further your craft. Take a class, read, go experience something that affects your heart or your worldview. Then in a few MONTHS, come back and work on the rewrite.
Though I am only nearing the end of my first novel, and it isn’t even published yet, it is really easy to see what this distance has done for the book I am working on. It’s literary dogma for a reason. Normally I don’t go in for dogma, but this shit is for reals. Lots of things have become clearer after leaving it sit for a year. Big things and little details that will help readers be able to see my world more clearly and not be bugged by the mistakes every first draft suffers. There may still be some, but hopefully my beta readers will catch them, and help me eliminate them for the final draft.
October is sliding up fast, so I’m done writing here, time to go make words.
For all my writer friends out there… I know you want it done, and you’re really excited, but put it in the drawer. I promise, it will still be there when you come back to it, and your readers that are pestering you for it now will be grateful you made them wait.